Former South African lawmaker Helen Suzman was made an honorary dame today by Queen Elizabeth II in recognition of her lengthy campaign against apartheid.
Suzman said after a ceremony at Buckingham Palace that the queen told her she was delighted to confer the award. Suzman, 71, who retired as a lawmaker this year, said she, too, was "delighted and honored by the award. It was very unexpected."
The title is the female equivalent of a knighthood. Since it is honorary, she cannot call herself Dame Helen, but the honor still carries prestige.
Suzman was first elected as a member of Parliament in 1952 and for many years was the lone representative of the white Liberal Progressive Federal Party, now part of a new opposition party.